What to do if I see a coyote in Massachusetts | Coyote

What to do if I see a coyote

It is important not to encourage, or even tolerate, coyotes around your residence. The longer they are allowed to remain, the bolder and more aggressive they are likely to become to humans and pets.

It is everyone’s responsibility to dissuade coyotes from using and frequenting areas used by humans. Once coyotes become unafraid and aggressive towards people, it’s unlikely the habituation process can be reversed. If you observe a coyote near your home, find a safe place where you can:

  • Yell at the coyote while waving your arms above your head.
  • Throw inedible objects such as rocks and sticks in the direction of the coyote.
  • Use noise makers such as whistles, air horns, or pots and pans.

To discourage future visits from coyotes:

  • If you are feeding wildlife, STOP.
  • Keep trash inside until the morning of trash pickup or place trash in an animal proof container.
  • If you feed pets outside, make sure their bowls are empty afterwards. Feeding feral cats is an especially bad idea in areas frequented by coyotes.
  • Remove bird feeders and clean up fallen seed to keep small mammals from being attracted to the area.
  • Close up all openings under and into your buildings to prevent their use as den sites.
  • Clear fallen fruit from around trees.
  • Remove or clean up brushy areas close to your home that provide potential cover for coyotes and their prey.

Most wild animals keep their distance from people, and you should keep your distance from wildlife. While actual attacks by wildlife are unlikely, they most often occur when animals are sick, startled, feel threatened, or become accustomed to people.

If you have the privilege of seeing wildlife in your backyard, enjoy the experience! Do nothing immediately; respect the animal and do not react unless it is behaving unnaturally. Do not approach or try to get closer to an animal.. Wild animals should be left undisturbed unless they are injured, orphaned, or causing damage.

After the animal has left the yard, survey your property to determine what, if anything, might have attracted the animal. Chances are it was just passing through. Remove anything (e.g., garbage, pet food, bird feeders) that might be an attractant. Review prevention solutions for additional information.

Laws and regulations to be aware of

While we attempt to provide guidance about state and federal regulations pertaining to specific species and control techniques, we do not provide information about local jurisdictions (city, town, county, etc.) where regulations may be more restrictive, especially as it applies to discharge of firearms, transport of animals or use of trapping equipment. Contact your local city or county government to inquire further. No guarantee is made that information (or lack of information) associated with a species or control technique is completely accurate or current. You should become familiar with federal, state and local laws before beginning any wildlife control activities.

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